JAINISM – THE CREED FOR ALL TIMES
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Universal Matter –
According to the Jaina view the universe is comprised of six types of matter (Ṣaḍ–Dravya) of which only one is tangible, visible and concrete and the rest are intangible, invisible and abstract. The tangible matter is known as ‘Pudgala’, which is responsible for all the visible part of the universe and the five intangible ones, namely – Jīva (the animate matter), Ākāśa (space), Dharma (Ether or the neutral medium of motion or dynamic inertia)), Adharma (Non–ether or the neutral medium of rest or static inertia) and Kāla (time). This chapter presents a bird’s eye view of the material universe.
Soul : The Life –
We have dealt with this subject, in some detail, in the chapter on nine fundamentals. The Living beings or the souls form the very first of the nine fundamentals that support the entire edifice of Jaina philosophy. There, we have described the aggregate of fourteen types of living beings starting from undeveloped fine one–sensed creatures to the developed intelligent five–sensed ones. We also dealt with the four classes of living beings, namely the heavenly gods, human–beings, animals, birds, fishes, insects, as well as the microscopically fine organism belonging to thesub–human category and the denizens of hells. There, we learnt about the misery caused by the karmic bondage and saw that the culmination of the evolution of all life–form is in the form of perfectly pure ultimately emancipated soul liberated from the karmic bondage. These souls reside in the dwelling place of the perfected souls or Siddhaloka.
Non–Souls : The Lifeless Universe –
Again, the intangible part of the universe composed of all pervading space that extends even beyond the universal boundaries, the static and dynamic inertial forces that neutrally support motion and rest of souls and tangible matter, time that is eternal, that waits for none, that constantly moves ahead never to look back and that is responsible for all change, as well as the tangible matter have received some attention from us in the first chapter. Here, we shall deal with the tangible, concrete and visible ingredient of the universe – Pudgala – in greater detail.
Tangible Matter –
Everything in the universe that is visible and experienced through our senses is its tangible material part. It can be seen and experienced because it is formed, has definite shape, size and comes in the form of smallest particle paramāṇu to the great aggregate or skandha. Further, the tangible matter can be experienced because of its properties of colour, smell, taste, touch and shape.
Colour – tangible matter comes in five basic colours and innumerable shades resulting from their combinations. The five basic colours are black, blue, red, yellow and white.
Smell – the smells are two – pleasant and unpleasant.
Taste – the five kinds of tastes are – bitter, pungent, astringent, sour and sweet.
Touch – touches are of eight types, namely – hard, soft, heavy, light, cold, hot, smooth and rough.
Shape – the five kinds of basic shapes from which all forms are generated are – globular, circular, triangular, tetrahedral and cuboidal.
All the tangible properties of visible and noticeable part of the universe is due to these five fundamental properties and all possible variety that we see in the universe is because of various combinations and permutations of these fundamental properties.
Soul–Bodies : Life–Lifeless Combined –
The tangible lifeless matter associates itself with the souls in two ways – 1. As karma–matter bonded with it that forms its invisible karmic body (Kārmaṇa śarīra), which remains associated with it, birth after birth, as it transmigrates in its worldly existence, and 2. As the visible material body (Audārik Śarīra). What we see around us everywhere are the soul–bodies in multifarious manifestations of their material properties.
Besides the living beings that we see moving about, swimming about and flying about, there are bodies of motionless earth–bodies, water–bodies, vegetation, fire–bodies and air–bodies as well as other mobile and immobile items composed of one or more of these bodies.
Earth–bodies – Earth–bodies are either subtle or gross as well as either developed or undeveloped. Subtle earth–bodies are of one variety only and are spread all over the world. However, the gross earth–bodies are found only in parts of the world and are, of two types – soft or hard. Soft earth is in the form of black, blue, red, yellow, white and pale clay or fine dust. The hard one is in the from of earth, gravel, sand, stone, rock, rock–salt, iron, copper, tin, lead, silver, gold, diamond, orpiment, vermilion, realgar, antimony, coral,
compact mica, mica dust, hyacinth, natron, crystal, ruby, emerald, sapphire, Candan, red chalk, Sulphur, Lapis Lazuli, etc.
Water–Bodies – Water–bodies are either subtle or gross as well as either developed or undeveloped. Subtle water–bodies are of one variety only and are spread all over the world. However, the gross water–bodies are found only in parts of the world. The developed gross water–bodies are found in the form of pure water, dew, exuding moisture, fog and snow.
Vegetational–Bodies – Vegetation–bodies are either subtle or gross as well as either developed or undeveloped. Subtle vegetation–bodies are of one variety only and are spread all over the world. However, the gross vegetation–bodies are found only in parts of the world. The developed gross vegetation–bodies are found in the form of common–bodied ones in which innumerable souls share a common body and individual bodied ones. The individual bodied vegetation is of many kinds like – trees, shrubby plants, shrubs, large plants, creepers, grass, palms, knotty stemmed plants, mushrooms, water–plants, cereal plants, lentils, herbs etc. Common bodied plants are found in the form of bulbous roots like potatoes, roots like radishes and carrots, ginger, onion, garlic, plantains, Haridrā (turmeric) etc.
Fire–Bodies – Fire–bodies are either subtle or gross as well as either developed or undeveloped. Subtle fire–bodies are of one variety only and are spread all over the world. However, the gross fire–bodies are found only in parts of the world. The developed gross fire–bodies are found in the form of amber, ash–covered simmering fire, fire, flame, meteors, lightening, etc.
Air–Bodies – Air–bodies are either subtle or gross as well as either developed or undeveloped. Subtle air–bodies are of one variety only and are spread all over the world. However, the gross air–bodies are found only in parts of the world. The developed gross air–bodies are found in the form of squalls, whirlwinds, fierce winds, high winds, storms, low winds, breezes, hurricanes, and many other kinds. Though these air–bodies cannot be seen with eyes but they can, certainly, be felt with other sensory organs like sense of touch and sense of hearing when the wing blows.
Composite Bodies – We have described bodies composed singly of earth, water, fire, air and vegetation. However, what we see around us are many composite bodies, which are composed of more than one of these bodies. For example, we can take the human and animal bodies that are composed of earth, water, air, fire and space. Even the inanimate objects like buildings, furniture, vehicles, clothes, etc are all composed of one or more of these bodies.
The material universe is a complex entity, composed of living and lifeless matter. While we can see and feel the tangible mater in the form of its manifestation as various bodied like earth, water, air, fire and vegetation as well as in the form of composite bodies composed of more than one of these bodies.
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